Merry Christmas To All – And A Season of Big Bucks!

 

Big Mule Deer Buck Christmas Card With Christmas Wreath and Snow in Background in Colorado
All I Want For Christmas Is A Big Mule Deer Buck. Photo Courtesy of Frank Donofrio

 

Greetings From The Colorado Rockies!

 

All the best for you and yours, and here’s to a funtastic  2019.

May you get to spend a fair amount of it in your favorite hills, haunts, and waters, wherever they may be!

 

A Mule Deer Buck Feeds Contently In the Winter Snow Of Colorado, Seen Outside the Window, With A Christmas Tree In The Foreground.
A Perfect Stocking Stuffer

 

Michael Patrick McCarty

 

You Might Also Like A Late Night Postcard

Or, A Man Made Of Meat

 

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For a Relaxing Winter Read, We Can Recommend:

 

Silence & Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness

 

Powerful, brutal, beautiful, and at times, enchanting, winter in Yellowstone National Park is a world unlike any other. It is a season both abstract and profound, where super-heated water erupts into arctic air, where wildlife pushes snow in a constant struggle to survive, and where silence and solitude dominate the park’s deep wilderness. Photographer Tom Murphy has experienced Yellowstone’s winter wilderness as few others have, skiing far into the backcountry with heavy camera gear, an uncanny ability to weather cold and snow, and an artist’s eye for the sublime. His photographs reveal a majestic land where the air is clean and clear and where a wolf’s throaty howl carries for miles on a still day.

“Silence & Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness” shows us the splendor and force of Yellowstone’s long cold. In 130 photos we begin to understand the lives of the wildlife that must endure it; we begin to feel the inspiring power of a landscape still wild and pure; and we see nature’s beauty in things great and small. These photos are accompanied by Murphy’s thoughtful words that take us into the time and place of each image. The captions allow us to smile at a fox’s serious hunt for a mouse, to understand why bison stand stoically in geothermal steam, and to marvel at a sudden shift of subtle light that brings breathtaking grandeur to a nondescript little tree and just as suddenly takes it away.

As popular author Tim Cahill observes in his foreword, “These are photos that mirror a man’s passion, and I know of nothing like them anywhere. Murphy’s photographs are not simply stunning or striking: they are also knowledgeable and even wise.”

 

Nobody Here But Us Birds…

 

“And the fox said to the little prince: Men have forgotten this truth. But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”Antoine De Saint-Exupery, From The Little Prince

 

 

A Young Elk Noses Up To A Hummingbird Feeder In A Backyard Garden During A Winter Snowstorm Near Carbondale, Colorado
Not Quite As Good As Mother’s Milk

 

A young elk tests out a hummingbird feeder in a backyard garden, somewhere near Carbondale, Colorado.

 

A Mule Deer Buck Noses Up To A Backyard Bird Feeder n Northwestern Colorado
Photo By Frank Donofrio

 

Not to be undone, a mule deer buck gets his licks in too!

 

You might also like Elk On The Range or The Hushed Silence of Winter Storm.

 

Some Wonderful Photos Of Fun Here:

 

Wild and Crazy: Photos from the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (Hardcover)

The funniest photographs of wildlife from around the world collected here in one must-have book that is perfect for animal lovers of all stripes.

When the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards announced a contest for the funniest animal photo, they received entries from all over the world. Now authors and original award founders Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam showcase the best of the best—as well as some never before seen—to present the most joyful photographs of wildlife ever printed.

A pelican losing its lunch; an elephant falling on its face; a meerkat having a rough day… You’ll love this light-hearted, upbeat book: The images will make you smile, but there’s a serious side to this endeavor: the authors hope to raise awareness for the need to protect wildlife, and the habitats they call home.

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A Late Night Postcard Of The Best Kind

Seasons Greetings!

Two Bull Elk Feed In Late Winter Snow

Winter is the Tough Time

 

I arrived home past midnight last night, to find a small herd of elk feeding in an open pasture to the west. My neighbor keeps his horses here, and I have an unobstructed view of it from our house on the hill. I spotted them as I walked over to our dog kennel on the fence line, and as I studied them I saw a big cow raise her head, just to let me know that she was watching me too.

 I don’t suppose I will ever tire of seeing elk. They have a way of taking over the conversation, you might say, to make you pause in mid sentence when you spy one, to make you completely forget whatever you had been doing at the time, as if the world is a mere background created just for them. It has always been this way between the elk and I.

 They looked particularly surreal this night, quietly feeding on a blanket of fresh, white powder, surrounded by the mystical light of a high, full moon. I am struck by the picture quality of it all, the sharp crispness of the image frozen in the cold night air. I can only smile. It is a perfect moment in time.

 

A Labrador Retriever In The Snow, Watching For Animals Hidden In The Trees

Watching For What Comes

 

 My dogs knew they were out there, of course, being that they were no more than 100 yards away with just some old wire to separate them. They had probably been watching them for some time, waiting for me to come home, whining nervously, and wishing they could run over and join up. The elk, for their part, paid us no mind, as they pawed in the snow. They had seen this show before and are not as impressed as us.

 We see quite a few elk around our property when the snows grow formidable in the high country. It is one reason to look forward to winter. They especially like to feed at night in a large hay-field below us, and at first light they bunch up and head for the cover of rougher grounds and cedar trees on the properties and public lands to our North.

To my everlasting delight, they like to cross one small corner of our property as they leave the hay fields, and if we are lucky, we get to watch. I often sit in an overstuffed chair behind our big picture window, waiting, hot coffee in hand, enveloped in the approaching day as the rest of the world wakes up.

 

A Large Bull Elk Feeding In The Snow Of Late Winter, Somewhere In The Rocky Mountain West

Without Winter, No Spring

 

 We have seen herds of one hundred elk and more, although smaller groups are most common. One morning I sat transfixed as a herd of about fifty or so lined up to jump the fence at the edge of the field below our house, then crossed our field on a run and passed along our fence line next to the house. I counted seventeen bulls, some small, some large, surrounded by foggy breath when they stopped. I can see it in my mind’s eye, just now.

 At times, a small herd will bed down for the night under our apple trees. Once I looked out to see several lying contentedly in the sun, with freshly laid snow still shimmering on their backs. I’ve seen them browsing in the remnants of our flower garden or standing next to our bird bath, and I wave and say hello.

Welcome, I say, and good morning to you.

 Last night, I reach my door and turn one last time to watch the elk and try to lock this image in my memory bank for all time. It is the quintessential Rocky Mountain postcard, a picture postcard for the soul, and I wish I could send it out to you, to all, with good tidings and cheer.

May the spirit of elk be with you!

I don’t suppose I shall ever tire of seeing elk….

 

An Illustration, Or Postcard, Of A Trophy Bull Elk, Bugling, With Foggy Breath, Silhouetted Against A Starry, Late Night Sky

 

 By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

 You Might Also Like Our Post Sacred Ground

 

Elk: A Postcard Book (Postcard Books) (Paperback)

The elk is perhaps the most enduring symbol of the high country of the American West. These 20 postcards, selected by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, feature breathtaking photographic portraits of elk in the vibrant natural habitats that sustain them.

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A Man Made of Meat – A Hunter’s Celebration

Tis The Season, To Yank Something Up The Hill, And Build The Hunter’s Fire

 

A Solo Rifle Hunter Drags an Elk Hindquarter Meat Up a Steep Hill in The Winter Snow While Elk Hunting in Colorado. Photograph by Michael Patrick McCarty
Bringing Home The Bacon. Or The Elk

Just in Time For Christmas Dinner.

Oh Joy To The World!

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Man in all his forms has been dragging something along behind him since he first stood upright and made his first staggering steps toward the horizon. Sometimes, it was a big hunk of life sustaining meat just like this.

They say that modern man hunts to fulfill some relentless though mysterious primordial need. Perhaps it is a way to reconnect with mother nature, to feel the wind on our face and remember our true place in the world.

I have another idea.

Perhaps we are just hungry!

Should We Get The Grill Ready?

By Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also Like Our Post The Way It Ought To Be

 

“The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information”. – Edward Abbey

 

“One does not hunt in order to kill, on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted…” – From “Meditations on Hunting”, By Ortega y Gasset

 

Mallmann on Fire: 100 Inspired Recipes to Grill Anytime, Anywhere (Hardcover)

Featured on the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table

“Elemental, fundamental, and delicious” is how Anthony Bourdain describes the trailblazing live-fire cooking of Francis Mallmann. The New York Times called Mallmann’s first book, Seven Fires, “captivating” and “inspiring.” And now, in Mallmann on Fire, the passionate master of the Argentine grill takes us grilling in magical places—in winter’s snow, on mountaintops, on the beach, on the crowded streets of Manhattan, on a deserted island in Patagonia, in Paris, Brooklyn, Bolinas, Brazil—each locale inspiring new discoveries as revealed in 100 recipes for meals both intimate and outsized. We encounter legs of lamb and chicken hung from strings, coal-roasted delicata squash, roasted herbs, a parrillada of many fish, and all sorts of griddled and charred meats, vegetables, and fruits, plus rustic desserts cooked on the chapa and baked in wood-fired ovens. At every stop along the way there is something delicious to eat and a lesson to be learned about slowing down and enjoying the process, not just the result.


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How Hunters and Anglers Won in the Farm Bill

How Hunters and Anglers Won in the Farm Bill

Wildlife funding, public access increased in new Farm Bill

 

(Dec. 20, 2018) — The $876 billion Farm Bill passed last week by Congress and signed by President Trump today included victories for hunters, anglers and wildlife. As the primary source of private land wildlife conservation funding in the country, the Farm Bill included incentives for wildlife habitat and hunter access. Congress also left out proposed riders to the bill that would have negative impacts on fish wildlife.

“Private working lands provide important habitat for both game and nongame wildlife,” said Aviva Glaser, director of agriculture policy for the National Wildlife Federation. “With shrinking habitat across the country and species in crisis, one of the exciting wins in this Farm Bill was the increase in wildlife funding. Over a five year period, there will be an additional $600 million-plus over and above current wildlife funding levels that will go towards helping farmers, ranchers, and foresters create wildlife habitat on working lands.”

Here’s how hunters, anglers, fish and wildlife win in the new Farm Bill:

  • Increased Access: The bill includes $50 million over 5 years for the Voluntary Public Access- Habitat Incentives Program – an increase of $10 million from the last Farm Bill. This program will help farmers and ranchers restore habitat and open up private lands for walk-in hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.
  • Funding for Wildlife: The move within this farm bill to increase the amount of EQIP funds for wildlife means that there will be a dramatic increase in funding (from the current $60 million per year up to $175-200 million per year) that will go towards helping farmers, ranchers, and forest owners adopt wildlife practices to help species like bobwhite quail, cutthroat trout, and sage grouse.
  • Cover Crop Fix: Fixes a deterrent to adoption of cover crops in the crop insurance program; along with other provisions this should promote increased adoption of cover crops, which will reduce phosphorus runoff contributing to the kind of toxic algae which creates dead zones and fish kills in water bodies.
  • Public Lands: A proposed rider harmful to public land wildlife habitat was removed, which would have opened up roadless areas in national forests – backcountry hunting habitat – to forest development.
  • Salmon Protected: A proposed rider was removed which would have allowed the EPA to approve pesticides despite reviews from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service showing they would harm marine life including multiple species of salmon.

The Farm Bill passed the Senate 87-13 on Tuesday and the House of Representatives 386-47 last week. President Trump signed it into law today.

For more analysis of the Farm Bill from the National Wildlife Federation, view the National Wildlife Federation’s statement from Dec. 11, 2018.

Drew YoungeDyke

Senior Communications Coordinator

National Wildlife Federation

Great Lakes Regional Center

734-887-7119

www.nwf.org

Uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world

 

For An Inspiring and Hopeful Read, and For The Benefit of Wildlife on Private Lands, Pick Up a Copy of:

 

For the Health of the Land: Previously Unpublished Essays And Other Writings (Paperback)

Aldo Leopold’s classic work A Sand County Almanac is widely regarded as one of the most influential conservation books of all time. In it, Leopold sets forth an eloquent plea for the development of a “land ethic” — a belief that humans have a duty to interact with the soils, waters, plants, and animals that collectively comprise “the land” in ways that ensure their well-being and survival.For the Health of the Land, a new collection of rare and previously unpublished essays by Leopold, builds on that vision of ethical land use and develops the concept of “land health” and the practical measures landowners can take to sustain it. The writings are vintage Leopold — clear, sensible, and provocative, sometimes humorous, often lyrical, and always inspiring. Joining them together are a wisdom and a passion that transcend the time and place of the author’s life.The book offers a series of forty short pieces, arranged in seasonal “almanac” form, along with longer essays, arranged chronologically, which show the development of Leopold’s approach to managing private lands for conservation ends. The final essay is a never before published work, left in pencil draft at his death, which proposes the concept of land health as an organizing principle for conservation. Also featured is an introduction by noted Leopold scholars J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle that provides a brief biography of Leopold and places the essays in the context of his life and work, and an afterword by conservation biologist Stanley A. Temple that comments on Leopold’s ideas from the perspective of modern wildlife management.The book’s conservation message and practical ideas are as relevant today as they were when first written over fifty years ago. For the Health of the Land represents a stunning new addition to the literary legacy of Aldo Leopold.

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Elk On The Range

 

December 2018

 

 

Two Cow Elk Feed In A Sage Covered Meadow Below Snowy Cliffs In Colorado. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
A Good Snack Interrupted

 

In the Rocky Mountains, elk are often most concentrated, and observable, on the lower elevations of their traditional winter ranges. Life is generally easier there, for obvious reasons.

Still, it can be the time of dangerous weather and increased predation, making it the most vulnerable time for elk survival. Without a doubt, the heavy snows, and other trials, will come.

 

A Spike Bull Elk Moves Alertly Through The Brush With An Elk Herd In Northwestern Colorado. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

These elk look healthy and content, for now.

For when it comes to the fates, and ultimate survival, only the elk, and Mother Nature, know for sure.

Best Holiday Wishes For The Elk, and To All!

 

A Small Herd Of Elk Feed On A Sagebrush Flat In Western Colorado. Photograph by Michael Patrick McCarty

 

Photographs By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

Cow Elk On Winter Range in Snow

 

You Might Also Like The Hushed Silence and Mule Deer in Motion

 

For More About Elk Range and Management, We Can Recommend:

 

Where Elk Roam: Conservation And Biopolitics Of Our National Elk Herd (Paperback)

As one of the world’s largest and most social deer species, elk are of immense interest to wildlife enthusiasts.  Their 500-800-pound tawny bodies, sweeping antlers, and fascinating behaviors draw millions to seek them in national parks and other public lands.  So valued are elk for viewing, sport, and table fare, that over the past twenty-five years elk were transplanted from the West to five Eastern states and Ontario, Canada.  These reintroductions helped restore a treasured animal that as recently as two centuries ago roamed from Atlantic to Pacific coasts and Alaska to Mexico.
 
Where Elk Roam provides an inside look at the field studies and conservation work of a federal wildlife scientist who for twenty-two years served as the National Elk Refuge’s wildlife biologist, coordinating winter feeding of 8,000 elk and tracking their births, deaths, and annual migrations throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It brings to life the joys and rewards of working with elk and other magnificent species–including wolves, bears, and mountain lions–and it entertains and educates while also moving readers toward active participation in conservation.

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Buck Fever In The Modern Age of Deer Hunting

 

A Young Wisconsin White-tailed Deer Hunter Reacts After Missing a Buck...By Pulling Her Hat Over Her Head and Texting On Her Smart Phone
Maybe I Can Text In Another Deer

By Michael Patrick McCarty

Apparently, the proper thing to do these days when you miss a deer is to quickly cover your head with your hunting hat and reach for your nearby smartphone. Or at least this young Wisconsin hunter thought so.

Can you say buck fever?

buck fe·ver

noun

NORTH AMERICANinformal

 nervousness felt by novice hunters when they first sight game.

Not to fret, young deer huntress (yes, this is a young lady here). We’ve all been there, some more than once, whether we will admit it or not.

 And to think, in my day you simply froze in complete, unmitigated panic until the animal walked off,  and then hung on to the nearest limb with all of your arms and legs and with everything you had for an hour or more.

So you did not fall out of your treestand… As if your life depended on it…Because if you were high enough in the tree, it probably did.

 At least that’s what I’ve heard…

You?

 

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“He grouped his last five shots right in the center of the bull’s-eye. Then I showed him my technique of scattering shots randomly around the target because, as I explained, you never know which way the deer might jump just as you pull the trigger.” — Patrick McManus, The Hunting Lesson, February 1983

 

One That Did Not Get Away

 

 

A Wisconsin Big Game Hunter Poses With a Large Trophy Buck White-tailed Deer
Now That’s Something To Text About!

Mark Miller from Mauston,  Wisconsin and a deer of a lifetime. I don’t know if he had any buck fever, but there is certainly no ground shrinkage here!

You Might Also Like The Gift

 

 

Colorado Hunting Maps: onX Hunt Chip for Garmin GPS – Public & Private Land Ownership – Game Management Units – Includes Premium Membership for onX Hunting App for iPhone, Android & Web

onXmaps has combined BLM, Forest Service, USGS Topo Quad, and PLAT book maps to give you HUNT Colorado for Garmin GPS; the MOST informative GPS map of Colorado ever created!

This microSD Chip gives you a color-coded map of Colorado showing public & private land boundaries with land owner names, Game Management Units, topo information, roads, trails, and much more! Simply plug the MicroSD Chip into your compatible Garmin GPS to get instant access to Colorado hunting map data statewide.

Endorsed by numerous State and Federal agencies, HUNT by onXmaps is the most reliable source for accurate and continually updated land ownership hunting maps on the market.

Your HUNT Chip now includes a FREE 1-year HUNT Membership! Activate the HUNT Membership redemption code inside your packaging to access your maps on your mobile phone, tablet, and computer PLUS receive automatic Chip Updates.


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Just A Pretty Little Buck

 

 

Majestic Mule Deer: The Ultimate Tribute to the Most Popular Game Animal of the West (Majestic Wildlife Library) (Hardcover)

Mule deer inhabit some of North America’s most magnificent and rugged areas, from the Baja in Mexico through the North American West to Alaska. The ultimate tribute to these great game animals, Majestic Mule Deer brings together some of the greatest outdoors writing of the last century by famous writers such as Ted Trueblood, Elliott Barker, Rutherford Montgomery, and Patrick McManus.

This collection contains literary tales about hunting mule deer across western North America, including hunting coastal blacktails, as well as excellent color photography and compelling historical images that are sure to please hunters. For hunters especially in the Western U.S.

Also recommended: Mule Deer; Majestic Whitetails; Majestic Elk; Elk: Behavior, Ecology, Conservation; Big Game of North America.


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Hound And Hunter By Winslow Homer

 

“Winslow Homer was an American painter, illustrator and etcher, one of the two most admired American late 19th-century artists and is considered to be the greatest pictorial poet of outdoor life in the United States and its greatest watercolorist”. – From  Winslow Homer: 216 Colour Plates, by Maria Peitcheva

 

 

Hound And Hunter, Oil On Canvas, 1892. By Winslow Homer. A Scene Inspired by The Adirondack Region of Upstate New York
On The Trail Of Adventure

 

“The place suits me as if it was made for me by a kind of providence.” – Winslow Homer, Speaking of his love for Quebec

 

Things are definitely going to happen when you put a boy, a dog, and a deer together, somewhere in the waters of the Adirondack Wilds, and no doubt that there is more to the story behind the makings of this scene.  After all, what could go possibly go wrong?

Few artists have ever been able to capture the mood and nuance of a sporting moment like Winslow Homer. His “Hound and Hunter”, completed in 1892,  is certainly a wonderful example of the master’s art. One look, and I am transported to a time gone by, drawn to and within it like a bloodhound to a hot scent.

Like so many great paintings, it begs more questions than it answers, and I for one want to know more. So much more. No doubt you have some questions of your own.

It has been one of my very favorite Homer paintings for many years, and it was one of the very first header images that I ever used to help illustrate Through A Hunter’s Eyes. Apparently I have a good eye, for as it turns out, it may have been Homer’s favorite work too!

Enjoy, wonder, and hunt!

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

“There’s no such thing as too many paintings and prints. Or bronzes of Labradors and pointers and Brittanies and setters. Or glasses with pintails and canvasbacks and salmon and trout flies. Or pictures of you and Charlie with Old Duke and a limit of bobwhites, or a pair of muleys, or a half dozen Canadas, or about a yard of rainbows. Or old decoys and duck calls. There are never too many memories of days past or too many dreams of good times to come”. – Gene Hill, from A Listening Walk, 1995

 

*”Hound And Hunter” did produce some controversy at the time of its release to the general public. The use of hounds to drive deer before the gun was seen as unpopular among many, even then, and Homer repainted parts of it to make it more appealing. Yet, it remains, as Homer  himself referred to it, “a great work”.

 

You Can Read More About Winslow Homer Here

 

You Might also Like Jim Kjelgaard – Patron Saint Of Dogs, Boys, And The Great Outdoors

 

Winslow Homer: 216 Colour Plates (Paperback)

Winslow Homer was American painter, illustrator and etcher, one of the two most admired American late 19th-century artists and is considered to be the greatest pictorial poet of outdoor life in the United States and its greatest watercolorist. Nominally a landscape painter, in a sense carrying on Hudson River school attitudes, Homer was an artist of power and individuality whose images are metaphors for the relationship of Man and Nature. A careful observer of visual reality, he was at the same time alive to the purely physical properties of pigment and colour, of line and form, and of the patterns they create. His work is characterized by bold, fluid brushwork, strong draughtsmanship and composition, and particularly by a lack of sentimentality. Although Homer excelled above all as a watercolorist, his oils and watercolours alike are characterized by directness, realism, objectivity, and splendid colour. His powerful and dramatic interpretations of the sea in watercolour have never been surpassed and hold a unique place in American art. They are in leading museums throughout the United States.

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A Journal of Wild Game, Fighting Fish, and Grand Pursuit